It’s Never Too Late for a Fresh Start!

Fresh StartWe as humans need milestones to measure and regulate the flow of our lives. “New Year” is one of those milestones.  It is one of the ways we avoid the hamster-on-the-wheel feeling of one day, one week, one month, one year blending into the next with little changing. It is an opportunity to make fresh starts. But it isn’t too late!  We can make a fresh start any time.

An exciting and sometimes overwhelming aspect of the end of a year is the abundance of ideas, tools, and investment opportunities related to the “new start” of the calendar flipping over to a new year.  They begin in December, and it seems to me, are increasingly being promoted into the new year. This makes a lot of sense since many of us are consumed by holiday activities of many kinds during December.

Through the early months of the year, there continue to be offerings in my email box and on social media about making 2018 a stellar year.  At the time when, statistics indicate, many people who did their new year’s resolutions “on time” are letting those new aspirations and plans fade a bit or have given up on them, some of us are focusing on how 2018 can be better.

I admit, I am doing my real fresh start work now.  And it is okay.  You can do it too.  Even if you are reading this in March or June or September, you can make a fresh start NOW.

One of the downsides of the big annual “new year’s resolutions” push is that the timeline is “this year I will” – and so if we don’t do something right away, it is okay.  We still have 11 months, or 10 or 9 or….. more months to accomplish what we had set as our goal.  Believe me, I have done that repeatedly! It is amazing how those months fly past and before I know it, another year has passed.  Given that history of mine, I have been overjoyed to find a resource that I believe will make a huge difference in my ability to reach my goals and dreams.

This resource not only provides easy to follow strategies, it actually gives a whole new perspective on time and how to use it to get where you want to go.  The 12 Week Year – Get More Done In 12 Weeks Than Other Do In 12 Months is a process and framework that focuses us on 12 Week time periods. And of course 12 week time periods can start any time we choose.

I highly recommend you check out this book through my affiliate link and join me in doing our fresh start work now.  I would love to hear from you as you use this framework and process!  Here’s the link to learn more about it:   The 12 Week Year

 

 

Transforming Your Life With New Experiences

One of the greatest gifts of our years over 50 can be having the time and flexibility to do things that we weren’t able to do when we were younger and in the thick of career building and child rearing. It may allow more travel for leisure and excitement, or learning a new skill and practicing it, or volunteering regularly to give back and help others. All of these and other activities enrich us and can be factors in transforming your life by opening up possibilities and igniting passions of which we were not aware.

I recently participated in a project that I never would have imagined I would be interested in just 10 years ago. For the 5th time, I participated in a prison ministry in another state. This is the 2nd time the trip has been for an entire week. It was a week of travel in vans from Tennessee to Ohio and back, daily travel to different correctional institutions from the hotel and back – a total of 1600 miles. At every one of the seven stops, our team of sixteen had to go through security and have all of the multiple cases and containers of sound equipment and instruments meticulously examined. Then there was the set-up in a wide variety of types of rooms and soundcheck to assure the best projection possible in that room.

Through personal handshakes and greetings, hugs, fun music, an appearance by Santa, inspirational music, humor, words from a pastor, and communion, we communicated and embodied the message, “You are loved, you have worth, God is with you.” In and through that, both those visiting and those being visited were touched, changed and even transformed.

You may be asking, how have these experiences transformed my life, and why did I even consider getting into this? During my life, I had experiences that left me with no real desire to go into prisons. I appreciated those who did prison ministries of various kinds, but it wasn’t something that appealed to me. Some of those experiences were living for 40 years in the inner city where crime rates were high, being a victim of several crimes during those years, having friends victimized, and then working for nearly 20 years in the crime prevention unit of the police department.

When I moved from Minneapolis, MN to Nashville, TN, I got involved in a progressive church which had an affiliated non-profit ministry to prisons. Gradually the stories of the impact of these visits and the urging of the director pushed into my heart, and I agreed to go on one of the “friends” tours that brought about 40 members of the church along on 3 days of a 7-day tour. After that, I wanted to participate every time possible because I saw the world and people differently. I wanted to be a part of bringing light into dark places like prisons in ways that were life affirming and inspiring, not shaming and fear-based. The letters that come back from the inmates who have experienced these programs are filled with new hope and gratitude. Many reflect an impact that lasts, not just a one-day reprieve from their situation. Amazing!

I encourage you to look at places in your life where you have drawn lines and seen other people as totally other, totally different than the people with whom you ordinarily surround yourselves with. Step out, try new experiences, see what happens in your life. Transforming your years after 50 can start with taking that kind of step beyond what you already know.

If you would like to learn more about this outreach ministry, go to http://timothysgift.com

5 Stages of Creative Thinking to Enhance Your Life

Very few people are innately gifted with innovative thinking. But we can use techniques and approaches to promote creative thinking, and mind mapping is a very effective tool to that end. Using these tools can enhance your life.

Mind mapping can aid in completing the thinking process. With some practice of techniques, we all can create lots of innovative ideas – perhaps even more than a group brainstorming session can generate.

USING THE 5 STAGES OF CREATIVE THINKING WITH MIND MAPPING:

Mind mapping burst (Quick-Fire) – choose an interesting topic and draw a central image to represent it. You can use a blank paper or any other material that you can write on. The ideas that radiate from your mind should be indicated on the page. Try to generate ideas for twenty minutes. Even if some ideas seem absurd, jot them down because sometimes these ideas can be the key to breaking bad habits and coming up with new perspectives.

• 1st Reconstruction and Revision – don’t over exercise your brain. You can take a break and then try to integrate the ideas you’ve generated. Create another mind map – but this time, try to categorize the preliminary ideas. You can build hierarchies – add more subtopics to the branches – and note but don’t remove identical ideas in different branches.

• Incubation – when you’re at rest, running, or sleeping, there are times when you experience sudden realizations. In this stage, the thinking process can create probable breakthroughs.

• 2nd Reconstruction and Revision – do another mind map burst because at this stage, you have a fresher perception. Integrate all the ideas and information found in the initial mind maps and try to create a comprehensive mind map.

Final – after you’ve created a comprehensive map, you can now look for the realizations, decisions, and solutions for the topic or issue you chose.

These are the five stages in the creative thinking. Hopefully, you have seen how mind mapping can be an extremely helpful tool in creative thinking. Give these steps a try on other areas of life, issues, etc. You will surely be surprised with the explosion of innovative and creative ideas. Let mind mapping help you in uncovering your creative thinking so that you can use it often.

Mind Mapping Enhances Your Innovative Thinking

Transforming your life after 50 is clearly a creative project requiring innovative thinking. We are seeking to create a custom-designed joyful life that contributes to others and is deeply fulfilling. For possibly decades, we have had limited ability to step back and CREATE what we want in our lives because of commitments, responsibilities and obligations.

Innovative thinking can benefit greatly from mind mapping because it is able to consume all the common skills found in imagination, creativity, flexibility, and organization of ideas. There are some fundamental elements, identified in psychological research, that can improve your creative thinking. They include using shapes, colors, unusual elements, and dimensions. According to further studies, mind maps are the best tools in nurturing creative thinking. If you try to apply mind mapping in any of your activities, you will be able to create lots of innovative ideas than what you’ve expected.

USING SIMPLE MIND MAPS FOR CREATIVE THINKING.

Start by drawing a central image to represent a general topic. Make sure that the image is drawn at the center of the paper or blank page. Try to focus on the image and take note of the ideas that come into your mind. Welcome all ideas that enter your mind and indicate it on paper. You don’t have to write a lot of text; in fact, it will be a lot better if you use graphics or drawings instead. Take note of all the ideas no matter how absurd they may seem.

Then, take a break so that your brain can also rest. Look at the ideas that you’ve generated. Get another blank paper and create a new mind map. Use the same central image but this time you need to identify the categories and major branches. Add more subcategories in the various branches and look for new associations from the preliminary ideas. If you see repetitions of ideas in different branches, disregard them and don’t try to remove them because they might be important later on.

Your mind map will reflect your current thoughts. Study it carefully and you will be able to explore intellectually, making room for growth. When your mind is at rest, for example when you’re sleeping, you may have creative realizations. These are sudden bursts of ideas and you should immediately add them to your mind map. Continue to reconstruct your mind maps and integrate all the ideas into one map.

The goal in creating the mind map is to look for decisions, realizations, or solutions. Examine your mind map again and look for breakthroughs or new insights. Soon you will realize that all the ideas are connected with each other and you will be able to see more of how to innovatively create and transform your years after 50.

 

Ever Wondered How to Position Yourself as an Expert?

Have you ever wondered how to position yourself as an expert? How do people become recognized in their fields as an expert?  Sometimes it seems impossible!  I reflected on this question while preparing to write a report on the topic, and addressed it in the introduction this way:

Although being considered an expert is something that can seem well beyond our reach, and indeed quite presumptuous, consider these quotes:

“What is an expert? Someone who is twenty miles from home.” (American Proverb)

“An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less.” (Nicholas M. Butler)

“We are all experts in our own little niches.” (Alex Trebek)

Combining those thoughts, I have gained confidence that indeed I may perhaps never be considered an expert by those who surround me on a daily basis. But I can become an expert in a defined area – my own little niche(s) – by focusing on a defined area and bringing clarity and organization to the massive amount of information which is at our fingertips and adding my own unique ideas and contributions.

In my continuing journey to position myself as an expert in my niche of helping people transform their years after age 50 into a time of joy, contribution and fulfillment, I have identified five major processes:

Identify a Focus Area

Gather and Review Resources and Perspectives

Develop Your Own Thoughts, Ideas, & Resources

Let Your Light Shine

Keep Talking to Other People

These can be repeated over and over as any of us develop, expand and diversify our businesses or develop areas of expertise in any part of our lives.

We are or can be experts in specific areas, whether related to a business, a hobby, a life skill, or any number of other arenas. I am thrilled to be included in a collection of reports on various ways YOU can Position Yourself as an Expert. Several experts speak from their own experiences and successes and share what they have learned with all of us.  My specific report is “Five Steps on the Path to Becoming an Expert.”

Take this opportunity to learn a variety of ways to Position Yourself as an Expert! (Click on the link to be taken to the sales page to learn more!!

Abundance or Scarcity Mindset?

I recently read an article by John C. Maxwell  titled, “Escape from Scarcity.”* It was a reminder of how easily so many of us can be sucked into a mindset of scarcity.  Indeed so much of our language and cultural norms are built on the idea of winners and losers, abundance or scarcity.  We are encouraged to pace ourselves, conserve our energy, and take care of ourselves and our family above all.

We often hoard not only our financial assets but our assistance and support, our ideas, our praise for others, and our encouragement.  As people moving into a new stage of life, what are our mindsets and attitudes? Are we looking forward to sharing more, expanding in our years beyond age 50 – or have we been infected with the affliction of “take-care-of- myself-first-itis”? Are we looking to have the freedom to give in new and different ways until our last breath?  Our mindset regarding abundance or scarcity will impact how we experience our coming years more than we can imagine.

Giving, contributing, and expanding opens the channels of giving AND of receiving in profound ways.  In recent months, I experienced the impact of these choices.  I had been in the midst of developing my online business and doing defined volunteer work at my church.  Then duel crises/opportunities confronted the congregation and staff.  The long-needed sale of our property happened quickly and we had to move out in a month. AND two of the four staff members quit their jobs abruptly.

I decided to set aside my focus on business building and spend virtually full time volunteering to do what needed to be done at the church.  For nearly three months, I poured out my love and energy out of my passion for the mission of this unique congregation. Two things came out of that giving. I was told repeatedly that I saved the sanity of the two remaining staff members, that they couldn’t have made the move successfully without me, etc. – high psychic payoff!  And after the immediate crisis was over, I was offered a stipend to continue working in some specific areas as we are building what is, in practical terms, a new church.  Being part of the staff during this exciting and critical time is a validation of my contributions and skills – more psychic payoff!

I have learned again through this experience that by giving what I have, the abundance of the universe fills me up again in various ways.  And I would have missed all that if I had held back and said that I was too busy, I needed to focus on my own work, the younger people should do it, etc.

John Maxwell ends his article this way, “You would never deny a bucketful to a child building a sand castle because you can refill that bucket again and again. That’s how the abundance mindset works. You give away praise, recognition, ideas, knowledge and money because you know there’s plenty to go around. What you give away will come back to you a thousand times over. I guarantee it.”

*Success Magazine, May 2017

6 Things You Bring to Your 3rd Act

Transforming your years after 50, sometimes called our 3rd Act,  is a journey of awareness and action. As you look forward to, enter or are in the midst of these years, it is helpful to look at what you bring to this stage of life.  Identify, examine and decide what to do with things that either can sabotage your dreams or enhance them.  Each of the topics below is covered in more detail in one or more of the posts in the category “What you bring with you to your 3rd Act.” Click on that above (right below the title) and they will all be on one page.

Please take advantage of the free report, REINVENT YOUR LIFE that is available. Just let me know where to send it in the box in the top right of the page.

 

Transforming Your Years After 50: Keep Learning!

One of the important keys to transforming your years after 50 to a time of joy and fulfillment is to continue learning new things. Since I am building my online business, I am learning new tech things all of the time.

Infographics are a great tool to summarize or provide an overview of information, and especially appeal to people who are more visually oriented.

Today I put together my first infographic – the 10 Questions to Ask Yourself That Can Transform Your Retirement by opening up many possibilities.

Each of these has a blog post: click on that category in the category listing in the right sidebar.

Here’s to new tools and skills!!

Transforming Your Years After 50: The Cost of Inertia

Perhaps the idea of “transforming your years after 50” sounds like a lot of work. Perhaps it will cost money you are trying to conserve.  Perhaps you are thinking, I can look at this closely later; reading it is interesting but doing the exercises and thinking deeply about this can wait.

My advice, my plea, is that you reconsider those thoughts.  Beware of inertia setting in.  Be alert to the tendency to slip into and stay in comfort zones which easily become ruts. Balance your desires to relax and enjoy the extra time and space you have with your desire to make this stage of your life joyful and fulfilling in new ways. They are not incompatible impulses.

Mirriam Webster Dictionary defines inertia as:

+ lack of movement or activity especially when movement or activity is wanted or needed;

+ a feeling of not having the energy or desire that is needed to move, change, etc.

Yes, relax. Yes, enjoy. YES, look at what you really want for your 3rd act of life.  You can do it all.  Start a step at a time. Do the exercises in the previous blog posts under the “What You Bring With You to Retirement” and “10 Questions to Ask Yourself to Open Possibilities” categories.

You can also consider the “Unlocking Your Ideal Self” program. Learn more about it here:

Unlocking Your Ideal Self

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“What’s the biggest expense we should expect with transforming your retirement?”

Transforming Your Years After 50: Introducing Mind Mapping, a Multi-Purpose Tool

Mind Mapping is a great multi-purpose tool that can help with various aspects of transforming your years after 50. I first became familiar with it when Tony Buzan, the creator of modern mind mapping, published Use Both Sides of Your Brain in 1976. I have used it sporadically ever since then.

Perhaps you are not familiar with mind mapping. Tony Buzan describes it as a two-dimensional technique that uses imagery, drawings and color to gather information and associations around a specific topic. The image in this post is an example. Mind mapping allows us to visualize tasks or ideas that relate to one another and to organize them. The technique taps into both the left and right sides of our brains, which makes it very powerful.

Mind mapping can be used for endless purposes, by people of all ages – including children. For example, mind mapping is very effective for taking notes, brainstorming, goal setting, planning, problem solving, organizing, setting agendas for meetings, and more.

Here are a couple of examples. If you have a project that needs immediate attention, you can simply write down your goals using lines, short words, drawings, and graphics. In no time at all, you can already see the solution to achieve your project. Also, a mind map agenda is a great way to set out the topics of a meeting without putting them in a rigid order. The meeting can flow more organically from one topic to another.

The power of combining words and images is immeasurable and taps into the potential of the human brain like few other tools. Perhaps you are somewhat skeptical of the claims of effectiveness. Numerous studies have confirmed the how effective the tool is for various tasks, which are easily located online.

This is an invaluable tool for your toolbox as you are in the process of transforming your years after 50. Other posts will go into more detail about how to use mind mapping.